The Entire Month of March

Greetings from– as my friend Daniel put it– the House of Baudrons (I love that). It’s a cold day again, this last day of March. Many weeks have passed since my last post, and during that time, there was actually a lot going on. It’s funny how– when people ask me, “What’s new?” I literally can’t think of a single thing– and when they ask how I’m doing, all I can think of to say is, “Pretty okay!” –but in reality, there’s so much happening, all the time! I know what the problem is. There’s a disconnect between the part of my brain that experiences life, and the part that interprets it. And that disconnect is called Paralyzing Anxiety. Where does it come from? Who knows. Probably the Internet. Anyway, there’s a lot been going on, and since I can’t recall it to mind when I’m physically facing a person, here it is for your computer eyes to see:

Money Problems – It seems like starting a GoFundMe page for your financial woes is turning into a trendy thing recently. Anyone else noticed that? I’m not sure how I feel about it. I have some friends who are hardcore (to put it mildly) Trump supporters, and when they had some unexpected medical bills come up, they started one of those pages to help pay the bills. It felt like the best and also worst time to throw their dogma back in their faces, so of course, I sat back and chewed my tongue until another goddamn tastebud blew up. Anyway, it’s a tough thing to think about. Of course I was concerned for my friends. I understand what it’s like to arrogantly think you know better than the highfalutin liberals, and then find yourself in a place where you don’t. I don’t fault them– or at least I don’t want to fault them– for being pridefully hypocritical in their belief system. The issue that I really want to think about here is the notion of asking for and expecting help.

Except for that one time that I borrowed $20 from Mom, and that other time the church paid my $50 KUB bill (which I know now was so unnecessary but I thought they were going to shut off my electricity for some reason even though the bill wasn’t even late yet omg 19-year-old Carla smh), I’ve literally never asked for money I didn’t earn. Not because I was never in a place of need, but because I was taught– if not by word, most certainly by deed– that a person’s worth is based on their work ethic/ability to provide for themselves and their own. I learned years after the fact, that my parents did have credit cards (Dave Ramsey Gasp!), and on top of that, they even had to borrow money and rely on the charity of friends and family– all throughout my childhood– just to support our family’s meager lifestyle.

Adam’s been incredibly fortunate (and worked very hard) to be rewarded near-full scholarships, grants, fellowships, etc. that make his tuition almost affordable, thank God. But as his second full semester in the program was getting more intense, he realized that he couldn’t work all three of his part-jobs anymore. So he quit one, and is cutting back to one-day-a-week at another. This, obviously, left a significant hole in our budget, which was up to me to fill. However, since I’ve decided to not focus my creative sites on money anymore, I’ve been forced to look elsewhere. Long story short, I’m a sex worker now. JUST KIDDING. But really, I did apply for a position that felt to me almost as degrading. The job would’ve been compiling and delivering meal trays at the University hospital. Talk about a punch in the gut– doing that interview was so hard.

Which leads me back to my thoughts about self-worth and money and stuff. See– I think what all the jerky boils down to, is self-ownership. Republicans, by and large, want to be able to do whatever they want. They don’t want anyone to tell them what to do. They want to be the masters of their own castles. But the obvious flaw to that starting position, is that we actually do need each other. I think the argument can be made that Democrats swing too far in the opposite direction– starting from a position that we owe everything to everyone. But I don’t think many of them make that claim, whereas, most Conservatives I hear (even/especially the ones I know personally) are adamant about the fact that they don’t and won’t owe anyone anything.

I’m getting a little long-winded here. I really just wanted to belch up some thoughts to try and clarify my own perspective on the issue. I think Jesus probably had it closest to “right,” when he said, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Jesus. What a good God/Man.

Image result for jesus bro meme

Spring Break – We took ourselves a jaunt down south during Adam’s Spring Break! Originally, the plan was for me and my sisters to get together somewhere in the mountains or on a beach, drink wine, read books, and soak up some sister-fun-time-in-the-sunshine, but then the boys wanted to come too, so we had to schedule it during a time when we could all make it– and the only time Adam could afford to take off was, of course, Spring Break. Unfortunately, since none of the six of us has been in school for many years, we forgot that literally the entire college student population goes on Spring Break at the same time. See, we had looked at cabin rental rates back in January and at that time, they were quite affordable, but– like the artist brains that we are– we waited until a few weeks before SB to book anything, at which point, there was barely anything available, and what was available was incredibly expensive.

SO, we decided to sneak into Knoxville to have a Little Free Stay-cation™ at my sister and Matron-of-Honor, Anna Laura’s house. I say “sneak” because the rest of my-and-Adam’s immediate family mostly still live in Knoxville, and the stress of coordinating meet-n-greets with all of them plus our dear friends there.. well, it was too much to even think about. My ability to handle stress has plummeted over the past couple of years, in case you hadn’t noticed. If you’re one of The Offended, please know it wasn’t anything against you. We just wanted to have some stress-free time to ourselves. (I’M SORRY, JOSH!!)

Josh, Everyone.

Our first leg of the journey was an overnight in Cincinnati with our friends, Lauren and Tim (and their teenager G). Which was such a blast! Who knew Cincinnati was such a cool town?! There are so many interesting little pockets of culture and quirk! We went to a bourbon & biscuits restaurant and Adam and I ate PORK BELLY for the first time. It was insanely delicious. Lauren took us to the Germantown part of Cincinnati and showed us one of her favorite spots, where we bought an incredible loaf of bread.. it tasted like brioche, but I don’t think it was. Lauren, by the way, is one of my favorite people. She made my wedding bouquet and taught me yoga. I feel so lucky, in the pit of my stomach, to know her. I’ve always regretted how slow and anxious I am to develop friendships of any kind, but especially when they’re sassy, generous, wonderful people like her. Someday I’ll retell the fun story of how we met. But I don’t want to make this a novel.

Lauren Marie!

In Knoxville, we (my sisters Erin and Anna Laura, their partners Stephen and Marshall, Adam, and my niece Mary) mostly laid low around the dining room table and multiple campfires, eating exorbitant amounts of the delectable food, and drinking heavenly homemade cocktails (Stephen). Those sisters of mine are two of the best kitchen-people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I’ve known a few. We got to visit the Great Smoky Mountains one day, and also the Museum of Appalachia, and then we puttered around some new additions to the Knoxville landscape, like Central Cinema, Central Filling Station (beer garden & food truck park), and South Coast Pizza– where we ordered a SECOND Cuban pizza after we demolished the first one, because WHO KNEW that mustard, barbecue sauce, pickles, and Swiss cheese would be an exxxpLOSiON of delight in the mouthparts?! Try it.

The best thing that happened over the break was our five-hour tequila-and-contemporary-Christian-music-infused game of “Cards Against Humanity.” You just don’t even understand. It was a R.I.O.T.

Seeing my sisters and Mary was the real best though. And of course, seeing the ones they love too. I wish we’d had more time. It always takes me a little while to get comfortable around my favorite people, even if alcohol is involved (though that does tend to help). There was so much I wanted to tell them in person, and hear from them in person.. as soon as we were all together, I just forgot everything out of excitement and nervousness. It was fine, but good grief, I wish my brain would work better when I want it to! My recall is SHIT. As anyone who’s played trivia with me will attest. I’M SORRY, JEREMY!

Anyway, the trip was wonderful. Mary’s growing up too fast, as usual. It’s so bizarre to see my sister being a mom, and a really good one at that. Mary calls her “Mama,” but not like my mom called her mom “Mama.” Mary purses her lips pretty tight before they pop open on the “M” sound, and both “a” sounds are the same– staccato and open-mouthed. Mom referred to her mom with a much more southern accent– much more liquid, like, “MAW-muh.” You’re welcome for all of that description. It was an absolute pleasure hearing Mary say anything, and seeing the loving connection between her and Anna Laura was.. well, it almost made my biological clock start ticking again. Mary also seems to feel a real connection to me, which is so gut-wrenchingly awe-inspiring, I feel it necessary to stop writing about it immediately. Suffice it to say, she’s Practically Perfect in Every Way.

Interestingly enough, I had a wonderful auntie-dream just last night about my other niece, Sarah– my oldest sister, Erin’s biological daughter. Sarah was adopted at birth by some good people our parents know, and we get to see photos of her from time to time. Of course, it’s a tender subject, and I don’t want to feel anything at the moment, so I’m not going to delve too deeply into this thought line, but I will just say right-quick, that I have always and will always be amazed and inspired by my sister Erin. She’s been through hell, a few times, and remains one of the most creative, hilarious, perceptive, and gutsy people I’ve ever known. And in conclusion, I wish we three sisters could spend the rest of our lives together in a three-winged mansion in the English countryside.

Look at us.

Telluride Babee! – Adam is so smart. Have I mentioned that? He’s smart, he’s handsome, he’s gentle and kind. It’s so gross!! Anyway, he applied a few months ago for two Summer scholarships: one for a class in Telluride, and one for the money to drive out there and back. And if you’re wondering, “Why not fly?” you’ve obviously never flown into Telluride. But guess what? He was exuberantly given them both! It’s so gratifying to see people seeing him. He’s incredible, really. :) So we’re heading back to Colorado for a spell! Adam will be taking a gold-tooling class from America’s Favorite Bookbinder, Don Glaister, and I’ll be helping My Favorite Aunt, Luci Reeve, with the Telluride Bluegrass Festival! I’m just kidding about the “my favorite aunt” bit– it was just a fun sentence to say. But I’m also just kidding about that, she’s totally my favorite aunt, hands-down. And I get to say that here, because she’s the only aunt that reads my blog. Burn, all you other aunts! Just kidding. Or am I?

Anyway, our hope is that we’ll be able to spend a night in Denver and visit with friendlies for a minute on our way there and back, and then spend an extra several days after the class is over in Durango or thereabouts with our beloveds, Jon and Jess. We miss them so. Talk about true friends. Gross!!

The Maker’s Loft – Oh, did I not mention, that I decided not to deliver hospital food? Yeah, it just made me want to crawl into a crawlspace and space out forever. Sorry about that sentence. I shouldn’t have written it. ANyway– I was about to go find a crawlspace, when The Maker’s Loft showed up! And they basically knocked on my door! So as you probably know, I work part-time at Blick Art Materials. They are unable (or unwilling, I choose to not care) to give me full-time hours, so that’s why I was looking for another job in the first place. My coworker and Office trivia teammate, Jeremy, just recently got a new job at this place called The Maker’s Loft, which I’d only heard about briefly, and visited once for a First Friday burlesque show. Anyway Jeremy was working one of his last shifts at Blick, and just happened to mention that they needed another team member at the Loft. Come to think of it, he never actually asked me if I was interested.. huh! Well, I didn’t think about it then either– I just got wide-eyed and pointed at myself.

So, long-story-short, I’m now working at The Maker’s Loft! It’s very new, and Simeon (the owner) is new to the business, so we’re all a bit of a work-in-progress, but I’m very excited about it all. Basically, the company is a local art hub. The location that I’ll be working at will be one-third local artist retail shop, one-third coffee shop, and one-third workshop/event space. I’m amazed at how my personal work experience over the past decade seems to have prepared me in so many ways for this specific gig. It’s nuts. I’ll be helping with ☑︎ events, ☑︎ marketing, ☑︎ social media, ☑︎ production, ☑︎ retail, ☑︎ coffee, ☑︎ food prep, ☑︎ graphic design, ☑︎ customer service, ☑︎ community engagement, ☑︎ art.. the list goes on. I’m in heaven. The grand opening is scheduled for April 26th, I believe. Side note: I find it almost unnerving how many Jeremys I’ve worked closely with throughout my life. Oh, also! Jeremy is the Manager, I am the Assistant [to the] Manager, HA!

Living Room Rearrangement – Believe it or not, this is big news. We’ve been living in the same place now for two years, and we just rearranged the living room to where it feels like a home now. It’s amazing! I can’t wait to have friends over to watch movies and play Cards Against Humanity!

Echollective Farm – We’ve joined a CSA for the first time! Come Summer, we’ll be making fraish, hailthy food every damn day! I’m probably going to need recipes for the vegetables I never cook with. I’ll keep y’all posted.

Therapy – After almost a year on the University of Iowa’s psychotherapy waitlist, I finally got a call back! And not a minute too soon. I’ve been experiencing some whack anxiety lately. Ever since my stupid Thanksgiving explosion at the Mother-in-Law, I’ve had a chronic twitch in my right lower eyelid. It seems to be getting better, slowly, but every time that I say that, it comes back the next day even harder, so.. nevermind. I’ve also been experiencing some major panic symptoms lately. Usually for no apparent reason. And of course, I have a few Everests-full of other issues that no one can know about. Sorry. Anyway, I’m on a short list now to get matched up with a therapist soon. Hopefully it’ll be affordable.

In the meantime, I’ve been encouraged to join a Dialectical Behavior Therapy group, which is usually recommended for people with Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve never officially been diagnosed with BPD, but reading up on it has always made me want to run screaming into the nearest lake (because it sounds a lot like me). The group therapy sounds very interesting. Almost like a twelve-step group, except for people who not only recognize their lack of self-control, but also don’t need to center everything in their lives around organized religion. I might be down. Stay tuned.

Art Stuff – My beautiful, wonderful, Blick family keep (keeps?) asking me how my art is going. I’m so grateful for their persistence. Now that I’m off the Insta, I feel RIPE for coming up with some NEW and WEIRD stuff! I’m working on a deck of “Maybe It’s My Destiny” cards. I hope/plan on these cards going on for a long time. I might make a deck every year or so. All they are, are fun, Tarot-esque cards, intended to be “read” or played with intuitively only. No rules. I’m still on schedule to write and illustrate “a book” by the end of the year. No one will know anything about it until it’s done though, so I’ll probably stop talking about it for a while.

And aside from all that, I’m just watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and eating nutritional yeast with a little bit of popcorn underneath. It’s a good life [today]. Talk to me!

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